War & Pacification

Critical thinking, real solutions

Video based on findings in TNI and StopWapenhandel's report: Expanding the Fortress - The policies, the profiteers and the people shaped by EU's border externalisation programme.

The War and Pacification programme is concerned with analysing the drivers of permanent war and publicising its consequences for human rights and democracy. The programme analyses the assault on civil liberties through counter-terrorism efforts, immigration and border policies; and the global authoritarian trend. It focuses on the corporate capture of security policy – particularly at EU level.

This is expressed by the militarization of borders, and the growing dominance of (high tech) security strategies for addressing social and ecological crises.

The content of this programme is a dynamic and increasingly important part of TNI's work, as the use of  violence is integral to the extension of corporate power as well as strategies to control migrants and social movements.

In 2017, several key publications were produced, and TNI’s participation in relevant networks and coalitions was strengthened.

GOAL: To make publicly visible permanent war and the pacification of resistance.

Goals (2020) Outcomes in 2017 to which TNI contributed
Put out call for papers on authoritarianism, organize public meeting in Amsterdam on Authoritarianism & Rise of Populist Right, and organize fellows’ meeting on theme of ‘authoritarianism’
  • TNI brought together leading scholars and activists to discuss Authoritarianism, producing a  workshop report and a series of papers on the theme that will be launched throughout 2018. The work has particularly highlighted the need to unmask the ways authoritarianism has been embedded within neoliberal democracies, creating the context for the emergence of the brazen autocrats of today.
Convene activist workshop, produce framing paper on ‘Shrinking Space’ for democratic dissent; commission papers & conduct interviews about cases that exemplify the issues; conduct advocacy
  • TNI  collaboratively developed a critical take on the so-called “shrinking space” phenomenon, based on a 2016 meeting in Berlin. The resulting paper challenges the idea that this shrinking space is only happening within typically undemocratic governments. By focusing on its manifestation in Europe, the paper demonstrates that it is a more widespread and insidious phenomenon.
  • The paper was well received and widely circulated, including translation into Arabic (work in progress), French, Italian and Spanish. It was presented and discussed at numerous events and conferences, including a Dutch knowledge platform event in the Hague, co-organised with the Women Peacemakers Programme, Duke Law International Human Rights Clinic, Human Security Collective and the  Charity & Security Network.
Publish & promote Border Wars series

Highlights

  • TNI maintained media focus and attention on policymakers on EU homeland security spending
  • TNI consolidated networks challenging EU security policy through key reports and meetings
  • TNI’s work with the Permanent People’s Tribunal brought new key concepts in the work against impunity and border crimes, and was used to inform, deepen and sharpen policy critique by movement partners.
"Across the world, in both democratic and non-democratic states, many activists and social justice organizations face an increasingly repressive and securitized environment, as well as unprecedented attacks on their legitimacy and security."

-On Shrinking Space, 2017

Rethinking “Shrinking Space”

Individual and collective activism is facing a global pushback from states, corporations and the Far Right. In the context of rising authoritarianism, xenophobia and right-wing populism, the issue is an urgent one, and as such there is a need to understand the mechanisms through which it occurs.

The metaphor of 'shrinking space' has been widely embraced as a way of describing a new generation of restrictions on political struggle. However TNI and collaborators recognized a need to deconstruct this narrative and unpack some of the problems inherent in the concept.

The first publication produced by the new War and Pacification programme was a paper that offered a critical take on the so-called “shrinking space” phenomenon. TNI developed the paper collaboratively through an international meeting held in Berlin in October 2016, and published in April 2017. The paper challenged the idea that this shrinking space is only happening within typically undemocratic governments, and showed that it is a more widespread and insidious phenomenon by focusing on its manifestation in Europe.

The paper was well received and widely circulated, including translation into Arabic (work in progress), French, Italian and Spanish. It was presented and discussed at numerous events and conferences, including a Dutch knowledge platform event in the Hague, co-organised with the Women Peacemakers Programme, Duke Law International Human Rights Clinic, Human Security Collective and the  Charity & Security Network.

Additionally, the paper set the tone for a range of issue papers on the same theme published in 2017 and 2018. For instance, TNI’s exposition of Europe's offensive against people helping refugees.

Challenging authoritarianism

The election of Trump, Duterte, Orban joining with the likes of Putin, Trump, Erdogan and Modi has made authoritarianism the norm rather than exception to modern politics. To support our work with social movements which are being increasingly criminalised, TNI decided in 2017 to invest in research to look at the underlying causes of the rise in authoritarianism.

In June 2017, TNI brought together leading scholars and activists to discuss the theme, producing a  workshop report and a series of papers on the theme that are being launched throughout 2018. The work has particularly highlighted the need to unmask the ways authoritarianism has been embedded within neoliberal democracies, creating the context for the emergence of the brazen autocrats of today. It has also dovetailed with TNI's work with the Emancipatory Rural Politics Initiative (ERPI) series on rural authoritarianism and populism.

Challenging Europe's Security Union

In August, TNI with Statewatch launched Market Forces: The Development of the EU Security-Industrial Complex, a detailed examination of the EU's security strategy. The report updates the groundbreaking Neoconoption 2009 report that was downloaded more than 1 million times. The new report shows that EU funding for new security tools and  technologies will double in the 2014-2020 period compared to the previous six years. The biggest winner is the “homeland security” industry whose influence on European policy continues to grow. The report was covered by the EU Observer, and Open Democracy.

Secure and dispossessed

TNI's book, The secure and the dispossessed: how the military and corporations are shaping a climate-changed world, published in December 2015, gained new relevance with the election of Trump in the US. President Trump's bringing together of corporate executives and military generals under the rubric of 'securing' the US from threats of refugees presaged many of the warnings of the book, of a militarised eco-apartheid future, even while Trump denies the climate science.

In June 2017, co-editor of the book Nick Buxton was invited to launch the Spanish translation for the book in Spain thanks to the support of Fuhem EcoSocial. The book was very well received in three launch events (Madrid, Bilbao and Barcelona) attended by 200 people and was covered by national radio programme Cadena Ser, TV Bilbao, La Marea, Corresponsables, Radio Euskadi, Gara and others. Nick Buxton also continued to write articles on the theme in US media outlets including Truth-Out, Roar Magazine, Open Democracy and was also interviewed by Wired, Mongabay and a number of community radio stations.

War and US foreign policy

TNI Fellow Phyllis Bennis continued to be a frequently called-on analyst and commentator on Middle East politics and US foreign policy for major US news outlets. She was invited to share her perspectives on the war in Syria, US military involvement in Iraq, and the Israel-Palestine conflict and occupation.

Reports were produced that provided an information base for the consolidation of networks in Europe challenging EU security policy – in particular, exposing the arms and security companies which are beneficiaries of EU research grants, and the vested interests in a hostile environment with respect to refugees and migrants, as well as the wars that produce them.

Permanent People’s Tribunals

The activities of Transnational Corporations have real victims, and the Permanent People’s Tribunal (PPT) offers an opportunity for affected communities to renounce their activities and have their say. TNI initiated a process to investigate and document the narratives of communities of migrant and refugee peoples participating in the Transnational Migrant Platform-Europe (TMP-E), on the violation of their rights by TNCs involved in forced displacement of livelihoods, contributing to extreme climate change and in ongoing wars and militarization of borders.

TNI was closely involved in the launch in Barcelona of the Permanent People’s Tribunal on the violations of the rights of migrant and refugee peoples. TNI participated in the conceptual, communication and logistic level of setting up the process.

This PPT session was launched in Barcelona in July 2017 and the first Hearing took place in Palermo in December- giving visibility to sustained and intensifying denial of rights to migrant and refugee peoples on  hazardous  journeys, where death and disappearance, encampment and slavery practice at the borders are commonplace, and continuing push-back of human and labour rights within Fortress Europe.

The tribunal brought new key concepts to enrich the work against impunity of corporations, as well as border crimes (such as: necropolitics, spaces without rights and missing people).


Key Publications


People

Ben Hayes
Fellow

Nick Buxton
Research Associate

Frank Barat
Research Associate

Phyllis Bennis
Fellow

Achin Vanaik
Fellow

Arun Kundnani
Research Associate


Partners

  • Statewatch
  • Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO)
  • European Campaign Against the Arms Trade (ECAAT)
  • European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE)
  • Spinwatch
  • Izi Solutions
  • Noor
  • Al Fanar
  • Comité Justice & Libertés Pour Tous (CJL)
  • Un Ponte Per (UPP)
  • Women's Partnership for Peac
  • Stop Wapenhandel
  • Agir pour la Paix
  • Privacy International
  • Centro Delás – d'estudis per la pau
  • Instituto Internacional para la Acción No-violenta – NOVACT